Eat Pray Love – A Book Review

EatPraylove.JPGThe book, “Eat Pray Love” is a travelogue authored by Elizabeth Gilbert. The author (nicknamed as Liz) travels to Italy, India and Indonesia, to get over her depression, searching for peace, a meaning of her life and yes, happiness. It is a beautiful, a very honest, and very tender account of a 30 something woman, who writes with so much passion and with such simplicity (even in language), that you can not help falling in love with her writings. The story revolves around the experiences, experiments and learning of the author.

And yes, by the way, you would be knowing about the much talked about movie with the same name, based on this book and starring Julia Roberts.

The Story and my thought flow:

Liz is depressed due to her divorce to her husband of six years for REALLY NO BIG REASON! She is not able to figure out why she wanted the divorce. She is not ready for motherhood, as a matter of fact.

Point to ponder : Divorcing a man who made your life hell can feel like a victory, but leaving the one who did not, can cause prolonged emotional conflict and pain, as you part. But then, why does she want to part? She seemed confused to me, as she says “She doesn’t want to be married anymore”. Is it stagnation of a relationship? Is it that you have reached a saturation point? May be, but she feels very strongly about it, as she sits and cries the nights through talking to herself.

Another thing, which made me think was that a Western woman in her 30s, waits for the feeling when she is ready for motherhood. Liz knows 30s are like alarm bells for the reproductive cycle of a woman, hence feels the mental pressure but does not really feel ready to be a mother yet, from her heart. (Her work involves a lot of travelling to distant places). Has any Indian woman ever asked herself really – “Am I ready to be a mother, a nurturer, a giver from now on?” “I decide to be a mother”…. or “NO, I don’t feel that yet. No I don’t like children”. Have we? Can a woman utter such an un-womanly thing like ” I don’t like children” (not that I would like to hear this). Marriage, a streamlined life, financial security, body clock, Mom-in-law’s advice are a few factors which make us think about having children, generally speaking. Ah, I know you are going to differ, ok pl write in comments, would like to hear : )

Meanwhile, she meets David, whom she feels is her soulmate, but the relationship fails as she is still coping mentally with the divorce she had slapped on her husband, who obviously is angry over it. This added heartache, makes her decide to plan a tour to Italy, then India and then to Indonesia where she does exactly what has been said in the title – Eat, Pray, Love, in that order!!

ITALY – She spends four months in Rome, makes friends, has a crush for an Italian boy, loved the language and went head over heals on the pizzas and ice-creams (and things which I really could not prononouce or understand!). Finally, she puts on weight too, but partially succeeds in getting over her anti-depressant pills. Binging on food is a common refuge from depression, she knows it, but still goes on with it.

INDIA – Stays in the Ashram of a Guru (name not disclosed). Learns meditation with great difficulty, and very slowly, fighting with her physical self and her innerself. Here, she meets a person, who helps her connect with herself and forgive her boyfriend David and clear the air of negativity with her ex-husband, through meditation. Liz believed David was her soulmate, so parting with him pained her deeply.

I was impressed by this wonderful explanation of the world ‘soul mate’, how we take it and what is the purpose of a soulmate in our lives, as explained.

” People think a soulmate is your perfect fit and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it.”

INDONESIA – Finally, a transformed, a lighter and an enlightened Liz leaves to Indonesia, Bali. There is a detailed account of the social, religious, political structure of the country (which can be boring for some). Her friendship with a medicine man (Vaidya, as we say in Hindi) Ketut, helps her stabilize better and Wayan – the lady with grit and talent (Balinese medicine and therapy) gives her good company.

Just read this and you will know why Wayan’s knowledge left me dumb struck !!:

“She (Wayan) opened her eyes, grinned and said, ” I can tell by your knees that you don’t have much sex lately.”

I said, “Why? Because they’re so close together?”

She laughed, ” No – it’s the cartilage. Very dry. Hormones from sex lubricate the joints. How long since sex for you?”

And then, finally, Liz falls in love with a Brazilian guy Felipe, who’s quite elder than her. Though, she takes time to understand this was the man for her, but by the end she realizes she has found the man who really loves her and dotes on her. A happy ending, but very touching, and quite romantic too!

While getting down from the boat on which both of them lazed around for some time, Liz speaks the Italian word she so loved – Attraversiamo, meaning “Let’s cross over”.

The book kind of guides you towards the way to cross over your sadness, your sorrows, your lonliness through sustained efforts, through engaging yourself creatively and helping the one’s who may need you.

Dear reader, Let’s cross over!

RESTLESS MIND

  • Chidambaram. CT

    Thanks Desh for sharing this information about this book. One of my friends from Canada told me this Novel exactly reflects her life. Only some places and some name are different but the story (Is that a biography) had similarities in her life. Now it has my bounden duty to get a copy of this book to her. Let me see how I can do that when I visit India

  • Igaheart

    I found this review to be very refreshing, and balanced. To be sure, I have not read the book, only seen the film. So I do know the story and plot line, but I so far have not made the journey ‘internally’ as one only can when reading. Nevertheless, it is clear from this review that you your touched by this story, and so I am inspired to go ahead and read the book as well. Great review!

  • A Restless Mind

    Hey Igaheart!

    Thanks a ton for those encouraging words! Yes, I am deeply touched by this book. It can pull you out of your blues!

    Please go ahead and read it dear!

    RESTLESS

  • A Restless Mind

    Hey!

    Glad u liked the review!

    RESTLESS

  • M. Prabhakar RAo

    I wish to email – for review on your blog – the manuscript of My First Novella, “Mayhem Of The Miserables!”, which is now live @ http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004V… (04042011).

    The sneak-preview, for your advance information:-

    The primary objective of this novella – “Mayhem of the Miserables!” – which also happened to be my first one in this genre – is to entertain you through unraveling the dynamics of the rarely- visited, dusky, back-alleys of the Indian crime, the cunning, the comedy and the cruelty of the miniscule criminals against the meek, the muddled, the mortified & the miserable majority who have been mute masses, which has been the story of India, that has been! But this could well be happening in your own backyard – irrespective of your nationality!

    This is the story of some robbing the many, the story of India that has been, awaiting the advent of another “Mahatmaji” (Great Soul), the title given to ‘Gandhiji’, the ‘Father of Indian Nation’ and inspiration to many a great statesmen, across the globe.

    The Secular Savior!
    There was this Dr. Peria Gunaseelan (roughly translated, it would mean a ‘Great Person of Good Virtues’, at least that would have been the intent of his parents when they named him so), an Ex-NRI, who had returned some decades back – to rescue India from its myriad miseries – via his innumerable ventures? His detractors, who were a dozen a dime – here and there and everywhere, conversely, whisper that he was, in fact, deported from his adapted Middle Eastern Land of decades, after his completion of a prison term, for some demeanor – which hadn’t attracted ‘cutting off of his limbs’ as a punishment – to the chagrin of those adversaries; the veracity of that report, however, I wouldn’t know, yet. And also, I never could ascertain what Degree he had or whether he was a ‘doctor’ with a medical training or a Ph.D. and if so, in which specialization and from which University – India or abroad.
    - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - –
    He was a pure vegetarian and practices utmost frugality in his food consumption. About that part, nobody had any objection but his insisting the same level of thriftiness on the part of all others, hadn’t gone down well with everyone. Actually he was such a miser, that he, brazenly, saved on his food that he insisted on eating always at the cheapest joints when he was away from home – where cockroaches, fleas, spiders, ants, mosquitoes and other such domesticated insects would show up in Rice, Sambar (South Indian style, vegetable stew), Rasam (spicy tamarind soup), Vegetable Fry, even in the Curd and Chapattis (Indian wheat bread) inlaid with the body parts of them. His everyday cannibalism, then again, out-shadowed his vegetables-only food-preference, for he used to have his employees for breakfast, bankers for lunch, supplier-creditors, previously deceived students, old lenders of small hand-loans & such others, for snacks, in between and debtors (customers) for dinner.

    Thanks & Regards,

    Prabhakar.

  • Lucille Mcelroy

    I viewed the movie last night and loved it.  I wonder though whether it is true that not having sex for less than a year will dry up the joint’s cartilage.  Liz also had bladder issues.  I wonder what happened with that?  I got inspired with Julia Robert’s beautiful scarf when she was in a beach party in Bali, I got one online.  It was a treat for me to virtually travel to Italy, India and Bali.  Kudos to Brad Pitt for producing such a soul catching memoir into a movie.


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